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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 07-07-02, 07:49 PM   #1
RWTD
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Wheel Bearing Problem

Hi All I am having problems with my rear wheel bearing .The wheel is the original on a mid 80's Fuji Royale and someone who seemed knowledgable described the wheel bearings as the old internal seal style with no maintaince required.They are (I can only assume thats what it is )making a progressively worsening knocking or clicking type noise about every pedal turn .Also the rear tire takes bumps or rocks terrible like there are no shock absorbers . Finally this is causing a high nuber of pinch flats(3 or 4 in half an hour.)and the tube is bunching up around the stem. Not long ago a piece of the bearing housing that looked like a washer or spacer came off and not really realizing what it was I pushed it back into place.Now I am wondering if I should have added some new grease inside first or if I can again remove this piece (I don't want to force anything)and add grease.What do you experts (or people more knowledgable than myself) think. I would like to repair it myself if practical.
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Old 07-08-02, 05:06 AM   #2
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It is unlikely that the clicking you hear comes from the bearings - unless you replaced the bearings with wrong-sized bearings.

The washer thing you are talking about is most likely the dust cap. You did the right thing to push it back into place.

Go to the library and get a book on bicycle maintanance and clean your bearings and regrease them.

If that doesn't work, write back.
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Old 07-08-02, 07:27 AM   #3
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The knocking sound could be the pedal's, a loose crank arm, or a loose bottom bracket. If yout tube is bunching up around the stem it is too big. The flats sound like to low air pressure. The dust seal coming out is no big deal, just follow Mike's advice there.
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Old 07-08-02, 10:25 AM   #4
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Thanks Mike and Hunter for the advice .From your comments it sounds like it might not be the bearings as the loose dust cover just made me suspicious of that.I thought I couldn't repack the bearings on the internal seal type is this correct?As I was on a loaded tour and had added some extra weight on the final day when I had all the problems I am now thinking I just had too much weight on the rear tire and tubes. I am thinking this would explain the feeling of lack of shock absorption and kind of jarring thud sound every time I hit a rock or uneven surface.It would also explain the pinch flats but I am wondering why they only started later in the day.When I first encountered the jarring feeling I added extra air at a gas station as my pump is only so good however the jarring continued.Some of the seperate(from the jarring thuds) knocking/clicking sound may have been as the tubes were losing air but I am pretty positive it was also occuring right after I had added air .As soon as I get a chance and catch up on my r&r I will try the bike unloaded and see if the problems are eliminated .As far as the pedals,crank arm and BB I just visually inspected them and the only suspicious thing I noted was a very slight sideways movement (and slight sound as well)when I attempted to move the crankarm/pedal assembly inward/outward.Do I need to tighten up something or is this normal and could this be causing the clicking/knocking noise?Also any comments based on this new information?
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Old 07-08-02, 10:47 AM   #5
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One comment on further thought .I think the jarring thuds actually stated on the next to last day of the tour right after I replaced the rear tire and before I added the extra weight later that afternoon.Could the new tire be faulty?I guess this is easy enough to check as I have an extra tire.
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Old 07-08-02, 10:53 AM   #6
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If both your cranks rock sideways together, attatched to the bottom bracket axle, then it is the axle which is lose. This will casue all kinds of strange noises. You need to tighten the bottom bracket or if it is a cartridge, get it replaced.
If the cranks rock independantly, then they are lose and will quickly damage the square hole at the centre if not tightened.

Regarding your wheel bearings, spin the wheel by hand. Lose bearings are easy to feel by a side-to-side rocking. Tight bearings will catch and grind. If these are cup and cone style they are fairly easy to adjust. I cant say how if they are industrial cartridge bearings. Some people confuse a sealed cup and cone bearing (ie having some rubber seal) with a sealed cartridge bearing.

Dont confuse the wheel bearings with the freewheel bearings, the cogs of the freewheel make lots of ratchet noises but their bearings are not load-bearing.

If you really dont know, then try and find a decent bike shop to sort out the problem.
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Old 07-10-02, 07:53 AM   #7
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There as no such thing as 'no maintenance' wheel bearings on mid 1980s bike hubs. Many had what was called a 'sealed mechanism'.All that meant was that it had a nomimal seal of some type,sometimes a rubber gasket,sometimes a metal cap that kept out spiders and large rocks.They still need maintenance. what's the possibleibility of a broken axel? Tube bunching and pinch flats are symptomatic of too low pressure.
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Old 07-10-02, 11:56 AM   #8
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I think the metal cap is the type I have and I think that is what came loose and I pushed back into place.Should this have caused damage to the bearings? From the symptoms I described the others thought it might be something other than the bearings. I am actually going to be looking into this this afternoon and am hoping exsses weight on the rear tire was the major problem.
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Old 07-10-02, 06:45 PM   #9
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I took the bike out this afternoon for a test run unloaded and then with some fairly heavy groceries.In both cases I noticed none of the prior symtoms even though I was using a patched tire.Thanks to everyones insight I have to conclude the problem was a combination of too much weight on underinflated tires.My pump is adequate though not ideal(probably around 70 psi while the tire calls for 75)for the bike unloaded but apparently results in severly underinflated tires when heavily loaded.In general do you need to add more air to the tires as the weight on them goes up?I know I need to invest in a better pump with a guage preferably.
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